Is Social Media Paying Off For You?

Using social media for marketing is, on the surface, a simple concept. You open a channel, build a community or following, and lead them to your product or service. And then they buy…

But the key word in that last paragraph is ‘marketing’. That implies there’s an anticipated return on those marketing efforts. And therein lies the challenge. If you’re not doing social media just for the sake of doing social media (and face it – that can be a huge time-suck without direction), what are you getting out of it?

People often look for the payoff in sales, which is an excellent goal of social media, but it doesn’t have to be the only one. As indicated in the infographic below, some concrete components that can be accurately measured include not just sales, but also leads, traffic, click-through’s, followers, engagements (likes, shares, retweets, etc.), and more.

Think about all the processes that comprise your sales funnel. Chances are, many of those processes can be supported using social media, but they must first be defined and then measured in order to help you determine how well (if at all) your social media efforts are paying off.

While the following infographic may not show direct equations for measuring ROI, it presents some ideas and example that may help you define your social media strategy. After viewing the chart, tell me what activities or actions you can measure in your own social media efforts that could support your business and help you confirm whether social media is ‘worth it’ for your business.ROI Infographic

Ashton Kutcher’s Lessons In Social Media Management

There was a ripple in the Twitter ocean this past week. It seems Ashton Kutcher, the disputable Twitter King, is placing himself in Twitter time-out – perhaps permanently – as a result of a social media blunder.

The Issue: Kutcher posted a tweet denouncing the firing of Penn State football coach as a result of the investigation into the child sex abuse scandal. The ‘tweet’ in question was:

That was published to his 8+ million followers. After coming under immediate fire from the Twittersphere, Kutcher deleted the post and began backpedaling. He tweeted, “Heard Joe was fired, fully recant previous tweet! Didn’t have full story.” Then he followed up with another short series of tweets culminating that he’s signing off from Twitter for a bit.

But then he took it a step further, announcing that he’ll be handing over the management of his Twitter stream to a social media management company he had previously created.

So now he’s the ‘proxy’ king of Twitter?

Kutcher detailed in a blog post that this all started when he saw a headline on TV that Paterno had been fired. He said he assumed that it was because of Paterno’s recent football record and his age, so he fired off his tweet.

His story’s a bit of a stretch, since the Penn State story was very widely reported, even before Paterno was fired. Additionally, one would think that Kutcher would be especially aware of the consequences of tweeting before thinking, given both the size of his following and his his recent expressions of frustration in the way gossip spread regarding his marital troubles. If he did, in fact, write that tweet without regard to even the smallest details of the case, his admission of idiocy seems to be accurate.

The Lesson: Regardless of the intent at the time, Kutcher’s many mea culpa’s were logical. Not because he’s not entitled to have the unpopular opinion that he initially expressed, but because he’s well aware of his purpose for being on Twitter. Kutcher’s purpose is the same as many pop stars: “to be popular”. Kutcher enhances his marketability or ‘box-office’ value not by being controversial, profound, informative, or intelligent, but by being liked.

Since Kutcher has removed himself from direct access to his feed, many feel he’ll lose a significant part of his massive following. Then again, I find it hard to believe that @aplusk (Kutcher on Twitter) is as big an idiot as he’s claiming to be. The story is covered by hundreds of news outlets, and announcing the outsourcing of his tweets brings a nice bit of publicity to his social media management company. Furthermore, many people (well, at least people who care about pop celebrities – still, an astonishing number) will sympathize with his ‘mistake’, ultimately increasing his following – and commercial value – even more.

Knowing one’s purpose in any social media channel is key in guiding activity. Whether proactively posting content or reacting to criticism or blunders, keeping the overall, big-picture goals in mind will guide the decisions at each step.

So especially those of you in my social media courses, what are the other takeaways you can find in this example? Does this example demonstrate anything you can apply or strategically avoid in your own personal or business strategy. Not everyone has the same social media objectives as pop stars (thank goodness), but keeping your big picture in mind will help guide your routine activities.

Would You Read The Terminator’s Blog?

Publish Your Passion

image by Justin Dressel

I came across yet yet another reference to Steven Pressfield’s The War Of Art (I really will have to break the cover sometime soon). This most recent post I came across was at the Pushing Social blog, in a post called, ‘The Tale Of Two Bloggers’. I described a hypothetical couple of bloggers, each publishing on the same topic in the same industry, yet one developed a successful blog while the other didn’t. The distinction for the successful blogger was that she wrote for herself rather than her readers.

The analogy used in Pressfield’s book is of Arnold Schwarzenegger in the gym. When he’s in the gym, he’s following his passion. He owns that gym and uses it as a tool of his self-identity.

To an extent, this idea flies in the face of the concepts of SEO, keyword research, and publishing for an identified market. The idea is that if you create based on your true passion, that passion will show through in the quality of your work. The example I often use in my classes is the hypothetical cricket fielder who writes the world’s greatest book on the slip position technique. Even though it’s the greatest book on the topic, if people aren’t looking for that topic he’ll have a tough time making sales. Continue reading

The Big Picture Of Your Business Online

I wanted to share this presentation from a company called Hubspot. It really covers a lot of concepts, ideas, and techniques that you may not be ready for. But even if it makes your head spin a little, it’s a good reference for the ‘big picture’ of your online presence.

I hope you pay special attention to the topics of keyword strategy, and promotion through social media. Those who are taking one of my classes may have some clarifying questions which we can review next class.